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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Peaslee

Spoiler-Free Book Review: Remarkably Bright Creatures


An illustrated depiction of an older woman in a yellow shirt standing in front of an octopus exhibit at an aquarium.


Remarkably Bright Creatures, a debut novel by Shelby Van Pelt, follows a cast of three: Marcellus the octopus (you'll love him), Tova, the 70-year-old stoic Swede who cleans the aquarium where Marcellus resides, and Cameron, the 30-year-old manchild who is suspiciously absent from the official book description.



The reason for Cameron's absence is because nobody wants to read a book about a whiny manchild, which is why every negative review of this book mentions how much they hated him.



At first glance, Remarkably Bright Creatures may seem like a cozy mystery about an octopus who helps a woman deduce what led to her son's mysterious death—in actuality, it is a cozy slice of life story that will enchant some and bore others.



(I do feel bad for readers who went into this thinking they would watch a clever octopus solve a decades-old mystery. He does, technically, solve a mystery. He just does it immediately and with zero effort. The book is not about the mystery. It's about interpersonal relationships, and there is very little to nothing at stake.)



If you liked The House in the Cerulean Sea or A Man Called Ove, you'll like this.

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